Wipe Out (Time Runners) by Justin Richards
|Wipe Out (Time Runners) by Justin Richards|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Improving time travel series for confident and reluctant readers. This one deals with the Cold War and, more importantly, Jamie and Anna's desperate wish to go home. Nicely judged and a good, simple read.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: July 2008|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster|
Jamie and Anna are lost in time. They fell through a hole in time and it's as though they never existed. In limbo, they can't grow old, but they can never go back. Their families haven't simply forgotten them; they never knew them at all. Recruited by Senex, they have become Time Runners - time policemen, if you like. When things go wrong, Jamie and Anna put them right. But there's always Darkling Midknight to consider. He loves to screw with timelines, and it's never to anyone's advantage but his own.
This mission sees Jamie and Anna return to a Cold War Britain of the 1950s. Something's terribly wrong. Why does a Russian spy show up for dinner at an English country house? Why is Anna's ghost being attacked by skitters? And who is Mr Prophecy, mysteriously holed up in one of the bedrooms?
Wipe Out is the fourth instalment in the Time Runners series and it's the most enjoyable so far. We're back in a time when nuclear annihilation seemed a very real possibility and the spying was done by people with plums in their mouths who'd all been to Oxbridge. It makes for a wonderfully claustrophobic set piece mystery. Justin Richards has written Doctor Who books for the BBC, and this very much reminded me of the Agatha Christie episode in the most recent series.
Aside from the English country house mystery novel, though, the underlying themes are interestingly explored. In Wipe Out, Anna comes face to face with her father, who, of course, doesn't recognise her. It kills Anna and it kills Jamie too. He'd do anything to help her get home. And so we have themes of love, loss and sacrifice as a counterpoint to the action and adventure. It's all nicely judged too.
It's easy to read, perfect for mid-primary age children, or older reluctant readers. It's got time travel, excitement and a little bit of pathos. It's perhaps just a little too light for the most sophisticated children, but for everyone else it's just great.
My thanks to the nice people at Simon & Schuster for sending the book.
Time travel fans might also enjoy The Book of Time by Guillaume Prevost.
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